In Time for Halloween: Pumpkin Spice Caramel Lollipops

October 22nd, 2013

pumpkin spice caramel lollipop

I’m not really a pumpkin spice latte fan. But I do like big mugs of hot, comforting drinks to sip slowly while watching autumnlight dwindle. And a long-handled stirrer to twirl pensively (I’m an inveterate fiddler). So it suddenly dawned on me last week: why not make an edible stirrer? One that might produce a pumpkin-pie-spiced coffee to my liking?

Autumn is for caramel: that cozy golden hue fits the season perfectly. I’ve been cooking a lot of sugar lately, so I’m surprised I didn’t think of spiced, Halloween-appropriate candy sooner.

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{SF} {Chocolate Review} TCHO’s New TCHOPairings Bars

October 10th, 2013

TCHOPairings Bars

Things have been a little on overdrive around here. A baby that can crawl and stand, lots of recipe testing, and the holidays peeping around the corner.

The nice thing about being a new mom, of course, is that people are infinitely sympathetic and kind. “Oh, you must be so busy! It’s ok if you’re late to the party!” “Oh, don’t worry if you forgot to bring the thing! You must have so much on your mind these days!” “You must be totally sleep-deprived – don’t worry about looking tired!” (Wait, what was that again? I look like crap?)

But I’m trying, gosh darn it. I don’t want to use a baby as an excuse to let everything fall by the wayside in a flaming, forgotten ball of fail. It’s just that when you have a baby, and things don’t go well, events tend to snowball much more dramatically.

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Banana Cake with Passionfruit Caramel and Coconut Meringue

September 20th, 2013

Banana Cake with Passionfruit Caramel

I'm all about soft, mushy foods these days; funny how a baby starting to eat solids will change your grocery shopping habits. Isabelle is a little foodie-in-the-making: although at eight months she's still got no teeth (I'm sure the moment I write this there will be one popping out) it hasn't stopped her from taking to solids with gusto. There hasn't been anything she's turned down so far - we're steadily making our way through pears and papayas, to apples and avocados.

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Back to Childhood: Malted Milk Chocolate Pretzel Tart

September 10th, 2013

pretzel malted milk chocolate tart on dessertfirstgirl.com

This has been on my drawing board for a while. The husband is a big fan of malted milk anything so I’d been meaning to make him a malted milk chocolate tart. As I finally got around to making some malted milk chocolate ganache, I thought, hang on, what else goes with malted milk? What about pretzels? What about a tart crust made of pretzels?

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Valrhona and Measured Indulgence: New Lemon Tart

August 27th, 2013

new lemon tart

When most people talk about becoming a pastry chef, it’s usually French pâtisserie they are referring to: puff pastry, buttercream, profiteroles, chocolate ganache. Can you imagine making crème brûlée or pâte sucrée by any other method than the French way? And yet, it’s a French pastry chef who is trying reinvent the classics of French pâtisserie. In July I was invited by Valrhona to attend a special conference on “La Gourmandise Raisonnée”, that promised a modern perspective on making pastries less of a guilty pleasure and more of a measured indulgence.

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A Dispatch Before August Ends

August 23rd, 2013

pacifica coast
Driving down the Pacifica coast on a summer weekend

Hello again.

It’s been a while – oops! Every time I finish a post now I feel this huge sense of relief and accomplishment, and I think that now I can focus some time on some other tasks on my list before I need to work on the next post. Lately those other tasks are multiplying and multiplying, and more time passes before I realize to my chagrin that I haven’t gotten to work on any new posts.

isabelle fair

Between six and seven months Isabelle has really started to assert her independence. She’s not having any of the sit-quietly-and-play-with-toys thing anymore and instead is trying to scoot, pull herself up, put everything she can in her mouth, and basically prevent me from taking my eyes off her for more than 10 seconds. I’ve been trying to plan our end of year trips to visit family: baby’s first flight looks to be a 14-hour trans-Pacific journey – daunting to say the least, but we’re looking forward to the adventure! Poor hubby’s been working late, meaning my evenings are often spent putting Isabelle to bed and playing with Snickers (our other child!) so she’s not feeling neglected. We’ve been trying to enjoy our free moments on the weekends while summer’s still here.

apple fritters
apple fritters from the Gravenstein apple fair

There’s also other food-related projects in the works – some mini writing gigs (have you seen my pieces here and here, by the way?) and a book project that I’ll share more about when the time is right (I know, I’m totally burying the lede, but these days, priorities shift in the blink of an eye).

So…I guess I’m just like any other first-time mom trying to juggle about 100 different things at once, right? The ground shifts and sways, more balls get tossed your way, and sometimes something just has to give. Apologies that the something often turns out to be the blog. I have half a dozen posts in the works, all waiting for me to find the time to type the recipe up or process the photos, or just finish that paragraph where I wrote half a sentence before the baby started crying.

I’m not really complaining. Life is full, and every day I feel so lucky that I get to be with Isabelle, or that some fun new opportunity comes up. I’m just sad I haven’t had time to share it all properly with you. I am thisclose to finishing up a report on a Valrhona event I got to attend a while ago, and I’m crossing my fingers that with a babysitter coming in the weekend I’ll finally find the time to post it. Monday, hopefully! Monday – that’s what I’m aiming for. Little goals, little steps, little victories each day.

Thanks for your patience, and all your kind e-mails. It means a lot! Ok, baby is calling. I’ll leave a little preview of what I made for the Valrhona post here. Happy weekend!

lemon and white choc

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